Thursday, April 28, 2011

Make. It. Right.

So our kids mess up, they screw up, they destroy, devour, steal, lie, hoard, pee on random stuff, leave stuff animals headless with all the stuffing spread out like a freaking blizzard just hit the piano room (not that I would know personally), they cut up hand-made baby blankets, draw with sharpie marker on wood floor and dining room tables, pee in plastic Easter eggs, kick screens out of windows, and much , MUCH more…again just things I have heard of…shea right.

Did I mention the Child, cough, teen that washed ALL of my windows with toilet bowel cleaner…and YES there is a PICTURE of a toilet on the bottle no confusion was made…..(they were pretty, kinda like milky stained glass)…and YAY….we got to wash them they were extra sparkling clean!

My house is a Freaking Crime Scene, is yours?
I have been so tempted to do a photo essay of just my house, a” before and after” testament of R.A.D. if you will….

In a lot of ways destruction, pushing limits, lying, even stealing are all in the “normal” gambit of child behaviors, many of them necessary and part of development. Sadly kids with attachment…get STUCK on these behaviors; they depend on these behaviors to SPEAK the words they can not. IT SUCKS!!!!…and what works with “most children”…the so called “Punishment to fit the Crime”…are light years away from being effective for kids with Attachment Struggles.

Asking a Child “why did YOU do that”, pushing the truth “I KNOW you are lying to me”. “DID YOU REALLY DO THIS, REALLY?”……DOES NOT WORK…..uh uh not at all…unless you have a cushioned seat, a big bag of popcorn popped and are ready for a show (cause at this point, you just set the stage for one Giant yarn of a tale to be woven)…or a dandy lil’ rage, or a Popsicle impersonation….all NOT super fun in the grand scheme of things…but at this point you have lost mama, you have lost them learning ANYTHING effective.

Much like an INCREDIBLE Vid my friend Christine made…and the WISE words

she illustrated…you need to give them the opportunity to MAKE IT RIGHT, fix it, because they NEED to!

Just ask em for help! “Hey can ya come over here and help me wash out these Plastic Easter Eggs before we put them away for next year?...”

“I didn’t PEE in the EASTER EGG.”

“Not saying you did, but hey, I sure could use some help, want to grab the soap for me?”
*Most my kids would reluctantly help, “el Diva la Popsicle”, will FREEZE. So that is a great time to use the “Great, I’ll do it for BOTH of us and when you are ready JUMP on in.” (and that works *most* of the time)

With 8 potential perps , I often know each and every-single-stinking-one on my kids M.O.’s…their Crimes and Behaviors of Choice. However, being accusatory, especially when it is the WRONG kid, can further damage attachment. So the Make it right technique works beautifully for me and my BIG little family.

Giving my kids a way and opportunity to fix their wrongs is really what we all need to learn how to do. What does “I’m sorry, really mean, if we don’t back it up?”…We are teaching our kids to back up the “I am sorry”, before they learn the words.

…..and IF we make a mistake of thinking so-and-so peed on the chair and it was a totally different so-and-so…no damage done, because they are simply helping Mama…..

Cause if we are “Helping we are Happy”….er sumthin…..

But give em a chance, to MAKE. IT. RIGHT.


  1. this is actually one thing I did before I adopted with our bio kids.... you mess it up/break it/destroy it, help figure out a way to make it right....

    Yes I have had my two year old helping out with the very MAGIC magic eraser (and making sure they don't use it on themselves- remember that e-mail that went around a few years ago that kids should not use that on their own skin...

    it is funny how my idea of what "clean" is has changed over the last 5 years...

    can clean be defined as "not growing mold?"

  2. Tanya! I soooo have seen those Magic Eraser e.mails...and like you that was AFTER I had let my kids clean with them!!!....and now, still do!

    We have been pretty good about always haveing all of our kids "make it right"...but with some of them...they get to learn that first and the "owning it" may have to come a little later.

    OH I glad you said that...I was JUST Tanya's house always looks so clean and organized when she posts pictures" standard, isn't even what I would call it...but yeah...I would go with the "not growing mold"...or at least Mold, I know about!" ;0)....why oh why don't we live closer?

  3. I used Magic Eraser on my skin when some permanent Easter egg dye exploded... I did NOT want to go to church bright green. Never saw the e-mails. It HURT....AND didn't actually work on skin as well as cleanser.

    I'll need to work on this one....the "make it right" technique. But, I know you are SO right about "accusatory" being just about the worst thing you can do. Made that mistake, more than once.

  4. Thank-you for this post. I desperately needed to hear it.

  5. We also use the "make it right". I OFTEN say, "I didn't say you did it, what I said is please clean it up/fix it/bring it to me/take it to your room"

    That has been the BIGGEST step in stopping their lying too. Totally disengages them.